Zuma vows to deepen cooperation with China

Updated: 2013-02-20 03:08

By Pu Zhendong and Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

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Zuma vows to deepen cooperation with China

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi meets with South African President Jacob Zuma in Cape Town on Tuesday. [Photo/XINHUA]

South Africa is ready and looking forward to meeting Chinese leaders at the BRICS summit and pledged to deepen cooperation with China, South African President Jacob Zuma told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Cape Town on Tuesday.

South Africa wishes to deepen collaboration with China in fields such as infrastructure, which will not only benefit the two nations, but also the African continent, Zuma said.

China vows to further strengthen ties with South Africa and the vast continent of Africa, as well as deepening collaboration with BRICS economies as the BRICS summit is scheduled to open late next month, according to Yang.

Yang arrived in South Africa on Monday, the first leg of his first overseas trip since Spring Festival, which will also take him to Russia.

He also met South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane in Cape Town on Tuesday to explore ways to further cooperation.

The two ministers discussed bilateral relations, the upcoming BRICS summit to be hosted by South Africa in Durban on March 26-27, regional and international issues of mutual concern.

Yang said since the establishment of diplomatic ties 15 years ago, both countries have frequently exchanged high-level visits, enhanced political trust, deepened cooperation in various fields and coordinated smoothly on major international and regional affairs.

"In the last 15 years or so our relationship has developed on so many different fronts; political, economic, social, education and so on, and both sides have benefited a great deal from this relationship," said Yang.

"We ought to work harder for the interests of our two peoples and for the interests of the developing world, and for mankind as well," said Yang.

He said China is willing to work with South Africa to push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Nkoana-Mashabane echoed Yang's view, saying South Africa was committed to furthering cooperation with China.

She said relations between the two countries have been "elevated from just having good friendship of having signed all the important agreements to taking our partnerships to the highest level of signing the comprehensive strategic partnership treaty".

There was a drive to boost economic cooperation with South Africa, as trade between the two countries continued to increase.

Yang's visit follows the recent pattern of Africa being the first overseas destination of the year for China's top diplomat, analysts said.

China, as a responsible nation, highly values rising economies like South Africa amid the changing world situation, according to Shu Yunguo, director of the Center of African Studies at Shanghai Normal University.

Zuma visited Beijing with a large delegation of cabinet members and more than 300 business leaders in 2010, when the two countries announced the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Earlier statistics show that by the end of July 2011, China had already invested $4.2 billion in South Africa and it raised the credit line for South Africa up to $20 billion.

China has become the largest-trading partner and export destination of South Africa, which serves as the primary engine for Africa's growth.

Annual bilateral trade has reached almost $60 billion, and the economies are highly complementary, Yang said while meeting Nkoana-Mashabane. Observers say Yang's visit also paves the way for the upcoming BRICS summit scheduled for late March, to be attended by China's top leader Xi Jinping.

The whole African continent, including South Africa as the host country, greatly anticipates the BRICS summit, said Xu Weizhong, an expert on Africa studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Xu said dynamic BRICS economies and local nations can work together on projects such as building cross-regional infrastructure and facilitating the realization of millennium development goals, proposed by the United Nations, by 2015.

South Africa will host the fifth BRICS Summit from March 26 to 27 in Durban, under the theme of "BRICS and AFRICA: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization."

Attaching great importance to Sino-African ties, Xi highlighted several occasions when China supported the independent and united development of African nations, which provided enormous opportunities to China, according to Xinhua.

No matter how the global situation evolves, China will always strive to become the reliable friend and sincere partner of African countries and promote Sino-African ties to new heights, Xi said earlier.

In the years ahead, both countries may also witness a steady increase in areas of development experience sharing and regional security collaboration, Xu Weizhong added.

Except for BRICS nations, leaders from 14 African countries and the President of the African Union will also participate in discussions covering topics such as establishing a South-South development bank.

As an economic bloc representing five of the world's leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS aims to achieve peace, security, development and cooperation.

Contact the writers at puzhendong@chinadaily.com.cn and qinzhongwei@chinadaily.com.cn

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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